Skip to comments.(The Horrors of the new) Oregon Gas laws!
Posted on 09/05/2002 12:34:41 PM PDT by vannrox
Debbie Brannigan (Email Author)
I spent most of my life in a suburb of Detroit, MI: the Motor City of America. I've been pumping my own gas for 20+ years now. Imagine my surprise when I went to work in Portland, OR and attempted to fill my own gas tank, only to be told by the 'trained fueling operator' that it was against the law for me to fill my own gas tank. I was not "qualified" to handle class1 flammable liquids!! I thought it was a joke but its true. There is a fine of up to $500 if I am caught trying to perform the 'fueling operation' on my own.
Yep, ORS 480.315-320, that's the one. Check it out on the Oregon State government website: www.leg.state.or.us
The following is taken directly from the text of ORS 480.330:
"An owner, operator or employee of a filling station service station, garage, or other dispensary where class 1 flammable liquids are dispensed at retail may not permit any person other than the owner, operator or employee to use or manipulate any pump, hose, pipe or other device for dispensing the liquids into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle or other retail container."
ORS 480.385, Civil penalty for dispensing law violation:
Civil penalty shall become due and payable 10 days after order: up to $500.
There are 17 declarations listed which try to rationalize this completely irrational law. Too many to list in this writing but here are some of my personal favorites:
1) The dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids by dispensers properly trained in appropriate safety procedures reduces fire hazards directly associated with the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids.
7) Exposure to toxic fumes represents a health hazard to customers dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids.
10a) The significantly higher prices typically charged for full-service fuel dispensing in states where self service is permitted at retail discriminates against customers with lower incomes, who are under greater economic pressure to subject themselves to the inconvenience and hazards of self-service.
11) The increased use of self-service at retail in other states has contributed to diminishing the availability of automotive repair facilities at gasoline stations.
14) Self service dispensing at retail contributes to unemployment, particularly among young people.
And, last but not least.....we can't forget about 'the children':
17) Small children left unattended when customers leave to make payment at self service stations creates a dangerous situation.
No, I'm not kidding: those are all for real. Can Big Brother's elitist agenda be any clearer?
Declaration 7 states that exposure to fumes presents a health risk to customers but what about the 'qualified fuel dispensing operator'? There are no masks, no special procedures and no form of protection from these fumes for the attendant. There is nothing this 'qualified' person does any differently than I would. Exposure to fumes for them is OK, I guess. Why can't I do this myself again?
Declaration 10a is by far the most outrageous: "high prices of full service discriminate against low income customers who are subjected to the inconvenience and hazards of self service."
First off, the keyword here is 'convenience'. Convenience is a luxury, not a right. Oregon lawmakers need to learn the difference apparently.
Secondly, it amazes me that Oregon's legislature would even have the nerve to play the "low income discrimination" card in this argument. The state of Oregon has the highest gas prices in all of the contiguous United States thanks to taxes and restrictions imposed upon it's service stations. Oregon not only demands its gas station proprietors hire full time attendants to pump gas but also imposes a 24 cent per gallon licensing tax which is due every month of operation. Of course government employees are exempt from paying this additional tax and may file for a refund on the gas they use. Where is the concern for the low income folks now? The poor of Oregon now pay the highest gas prices in the entire country! Rather than cut taxes and lower prices for everyone, the state of OR has decided it's better to impose the highest taxes and charges for all: including the poor. Typical rhetoric. (ref: ORS 319.020 for licensing tax info)
Declarations 11 & 14 claim that self service stations contribute not only to unemployment but also to diminished availability of service stations. This reminds me of a scene from "Anthem" by Ayn Rand. Prometheus presents his great discovery of electricity to the World Council of Scholars. They tell him it would "wreck the plans of the World Council" by wreaking havoc on the current Council of Candles. When government restricts free market evolution, the result can only be stagnation. Can you imagine life if the government had stepped in to halt the 'diminished availability' of blacksmiths, chimney sweeps, milkmen, 8 tracks tapes, rotary phones, etc, etc. If there is market demand for a business it will survive without intervention.
Self-serve gas stations have not led to higher unemployment rates in other states. Most of those stations are equipped with automated electronic pumps and surveilance. More high tech equipment = more high tech maintenance & sales = more high tech jobs. Hmmm. Oregon has the highest gasoline prices in the country. It also has the highest unemployment rate. Oregon lawmakers claim to be passing these laws in an effort to reduce unemployment and help the low income citizens. Obviously, the opposite effect has taken place. Perhaps it is time to rethink the current strategy?
Oh and the best for last!
Declaration 17: small children left alone while paying for gas poses a 'dangerous' situation. Are children all over the country spontaneously combusting at these self serve stations? What are these children doing.....drinking the gasoline when mom's not looking? I could find no data anywhere to support a higher rate of injury to minors at self service stations vs. full serve stations. A vast majority of self serve stations are equipped with pay at the pump service, so you never have to leave the perimeter of your car. If it does not offer this, drive 1/4 mile to one that does. Don't want to do that: take the child inside with you.
It has not been quite a decade since this law was imposed and already the arguments for keeping it intact are " so many people wouldn't know how to pump their own gas now". So here is yet another law fully enforced and completely ridiculous. It is another step up the government ladder of dependancy, where we leave Liberty and Freedom on the ground below.
Let me end this with a fitting quote from Benjamin Franklin: "People who are willing to give up their freedom for securtiy deserve neither"
Welcome to the Communist Republic of Oregon!
MACV SOCOM, PhuBai/Hue '65-'66
But you cant fault the legislature for the high fuel taxes. The Oregon voters had their hand in that.
When I lived there 15 years ago, the legislature proposed a $0.05/gal tax to pay for road maintenance. It was to be phased in two cents the first year, two cents the second year, and one cent on the third and final year.
It had to pass by 60% of voters to become law, IIRC. It passed. It turns out that it requires 60% vote to become law, but once it becomes law the legislature can extend it unilaterally. They did. I left years ago but I dont think they ever reached the third and final year of the gas tax phase-in. They just extended it at two cents the third year, another two cents the fourth year, another two cents the fifth year, etc
There is no sales tax though at least when I was there, so she should be grateful.
It's actually kinda nice to have somebody pump your gas and clean the windshield.
And gas prices in OR aren't appreciably different from those elsewhere.
BTW, Ms. Brannigan is completely incorrect when she says it has not been quite a decade since this law was imposed.... It's been that way for at least 30 years.
Sounds like those capitalist chicks need to go back and find something important to PMS about.
Last Saturday I cracked up when I saw a bride, in full wedding dress, at a gas station pumping her own gas. Oh, for the good old days, when the winters were milder, summers cooler and everyone I knew, including me, was younger.
Does lack of freedom spawn laziness or vice-versa?
The law is still in effect in New Jersey.
We pay less for gasoline and get something that ( occasionally ) resembles service !
When southbound on I-5, I gas up in Vancouver, WA.
When northbound on I-5 (coming from California), I just gas up in Yreka.
I get to enjoy the fast service of pumping my own gas, paying at the pump, and scooting on out ASAP, and prices are generally lower.
On the few occasions when I failed to plan well ahead, I had to stop at an Oregon station, and it's always a pain in the butt. One time, there was only one attendant trying to pump gas on 8 stations, and it was busy... the poor fella is running around and he really did a lousy job keeping track of who was first. I had to wait about 10 minutes (no, I'm NOT kidding), but had little choice because I was running on fumes (I was about 10 miles from the Idaho border and thought I could make it... but decided I better not chance it).
I got out of my car, opened the gas tank, had my card ready to pay, even put the pump in my car. But that's all I could do... all the guy had to do was come over and actually pull the handle, lock it in place and then move on... I'd done everything else for him, but squeezing that trigger is the one thing I couldn't do.
Heaven forbid I actually initiate the process that begins the flow of gasoline! I don't know if a swarm of police, or black helicopers, would descend on me... But still, just putting the pump in my tank raised a few eyebrows among the local Oregonians who have been brainwashed the past few years...
It's sad when politicians decide to treat us all like idiots.
And yeah, on a trip in NJ last year, I did the same thing, gassing up in NY and Deleware on my trip through the wonderful "Garden State" (which was odd... looking around, NJ seemed more like the "concrete and asphalt state", but then I was trapped on the NJ turnpike for about 2 hours to go 5 miles).
Curiously, my friends from Oregon seem to have no problem whatsoever pumping their own gas when they go out of state.